GIRARD - One of the most challenging tasks a Girard quarterback faces is to grasp the Indians' complex offense.
He has to know the vocabulary well enough to make split-second decisions at the line, and then zip through progressions that stretch from one end of the field to another.
This ability can take years to develop. But the Indians have a four-year starter under center: Dan Graziano, who will be tasked with not only calling relaying from coach Nick Cochran, but also calling plays at the line.
"Coach Cochran is giving me pretty much free reign with calling plays at the line," Graziano said. "Last year, he gradually let me do it, but he's trusting me a lot more this year, and I feel comfortable with that."
Cochran said Graziano's experience has facilitated this progression, but communication between the two has also helped.
"We've worked together for so long now, he knows what I'm thinking a lot of the times," Cochran said. "That really helps in cutting down the actual time it takes to get plays called. Once he sees a front, he knows what to call, and that's great because that speeds us up even more when he's able to call a play himself. "
This all possible because of Graziano's mental progression.
"Coach Cochran expects a lot out of you, and I appreciate that - he wouldn't pressure me if he didn't think I was capable of getting the job done," Graziano said. "But in my freshman year, it was a little overwhelming."
Graziano was 106 of 193 for 1,949 yards 20 touchdowns last year. He also rushed for 721 yards.
Cochran said Graziano has grown.
"First of all, it's not always easy to work with me, and that's the biggest thing: He's developed in taking a lot of criticism from me, and now he's handling that better," Cochran said. "When he was younger, he was a little immature, but now he's starting to mature, and people are starting to look up to him a little more. Once I think he's accepted that leadership role more, then I think he'll be a more complete player."
During a passing scrimmage in July, it was apparent that Graziano has not only accepted his role, but embraced it. He directed the offense in a range of plays, and turned in possibly the most impressive effort of four schools in attendance.
"I feel comfortable enough with the offense to help the younger guys along, and even to direct my receivers and running backs," Graziano said. "It helps to have a grasp of the offense, and an idea of what your players can do."
|Aug. 26||at Manchester||7|
|Sept. 9||John F. Kennedy||7|
|Sept. 16||*at Newton Falls||7|
|Sept. 23||*at Champion||7|
|Sept. 30||at Hubbard||7|
|Oct. 28||at Liberty||7|
|2010 results (6-4, 2-2):|
|Aug. 27||Manchester||L, 14-21|
|Sept. 3||at Struthers||W, 16-13|
|Sept. 10||at JFK||W, 20-14|
|Sept. 17||*N. Falls||W, 34-0|
|Sept. 24||*Champion||W, 42-14|
|Oct. 1||Hubbard||L, 24-27|
|Oct. 8||at Niles||W, 28-21|
|Oct. 15||*Campbell||L, 21-31|
|Oct. 22||*at LaBrae||L, 21-28|
|Oct. 29||Liberty||W, 33-6|